Please welcome Project 143 to the blog today!
Our summer started off THE moment school ended… back-to-back trips followed by a two week mission trip… and yet… here we were… the day had arrived… and we were about to burst wide open with excitement.
Families from all over the Southeast gathered and shared stories about the faces on their banners. Plans for summer activities were being shared, anxious questions about what to expect were being asked, nails being bitten and hearts stirring… strangers walking by and wondering what all the fuss was about.
All three of my children… also once orphans… wanting to know what the delay was… giddy with hope… bouncing with energy…making plans for forts and races and snacks… yes… snacks. Gotta have good snacks!
Customs. Customs was the hold up and over 20 little orphans were filed in a line in a room we couldn’t see. Their little minds full of questions, hearts racing in their little chests, hands sweating and eyelids getting heavy from the long journey over… over to the unknown… to the families waiting to embrace them with hope and love and opportunities.
I have been a part of these arrivals for over three years now. I call it “holy ground”. There is something holy about hearts embracing in the presence of the One who created them and holds them in His hands. There is something pure and holy about little hearts trusting and simply embracing love… pushing fear aside and just revealing themselves in an instant… in a moment that will never be forgotten.
But this time was different for me. Usually I am the facilitator… calming nerves of others, praying words of encouragement over them, sharing details and timelines. It has been four years since I was a part of this holy wonder as a host family. That particular hosting brought us our daughter, Taylor. It opened our eyes to the mighty bridge hosting creates for older orphans who are mostly overlooked and so sadly forgotten. After that experience, we jumped in with both feet… we joined Project One Forty Three (P143) as volunteers and advocates for orphans.
And here we were again, hosting TWO littles. Our hearts were the ones racing with anticipation. My eyes were the ones peering into the crowd of people exiting international arrivals.
Finally, after what seemed to be way too long… their little yellow and orange hats appeared… bobbing in random fashion… their heads stretching to catch a glimpse of us. And I saw him first… our 8 year old host child. I could not believe how little he was. Then there she was… coming out from behind a taller child… his 7 year old sister… and they took each other’s hands.
Everything in me wanted to run over and scoop them up. But I had to wait for my name to be called. Was I holding my breath? Yes.
Then our name was called… permission to run forward. Before my feet could move, their eyes locked with ours and smiles took over their cautious faces. Then she was running. This tiny little girl abandoned and neglected by love… ran to me… embraced me… squeezed me tightly… and would not let go.
Oh my heart. What have I done? I have entered in. I am on holy ground.
I am almost unaware of anything around me. I hear and feel her breath on my neck. The strength of her little arms wrapped around me catches me off guard. She is holding on… she has entered in… she too is on holy ground.
I was undone. My heart intertwined with hers. I stood up… and she held on. She didn’t move. She just held on. Her little body fit around me perfectly and I was undone. Her mother left her. Yes. But God has given her a mother for this summer.
And for five weeks I will be Christ’s love to her in every way possible… to her and to her brother. And God will unfold His will… and we will be obedient.
This is hosting. This is love. This is HOPE made flesh. This is Project One Forty Three.
Follow us on Twitter- @P143Org